Watch How Rope Is Made

Watch full episodes of the Science Channel Series "How It's Made."

These ropes are made from thousands of nylon fibers that are finer than human hair, but stronger.

To make rope, yarns wind around aluminum cylinders pulled by a turning spool down the line.

Then, three at a time, the yarns roll over another spool that applies a protective coating of urethane. 

They funnel through a distribution plate that holds them evenly apart. This ensures they're at an even tension as a

rocking spool twists them into one larger yarn. 

This machine is called the Whirlwind. It twists the yarn and then winds it onto a take-up spool inside. A little arm moves back and forth, guiding the yarn so it winds evenly onto the spool.This is core yarn and will be used to make other rope.

Now, dozens of spools of nylon fiber unwind at the same time to make jackets to protect the core yarns. The fibers travel several feet over a network of rollers that act as guides and control tension on each individual fiber.

A platform moves up and down to evenly wind the yarn onto the bobbin.They place 48 of these bobbins on the maypole machine. So-called, because the braiding action resembles a dance along a traditional maypole. The bobbins spin and zig-zag around each other, as the machine pulls core yarn up through the center.

Here you can see the rope being braided around the core yarn, as it's pulled up through a dye. This is the braiding action in slow-motion. It produces a mountain climbing rope. Strong, yet stretchy because of the twists in the core of the rope. The rope winds onto the wheel as it pulls it upwards. Then it spills into a basket.

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